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Josh Emmett says win over Jeremy Stephens at UFC on FOX 28 earns him title shot

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MMA: UFC Fight Night-Winnipeg-Emmett vs Lamas Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Most people were shocked to see Josh Emmett knock Ricardo Lamas out cold at UFC on FOX 26 this past December. Emmett has always been talented, but never really showed the finishing ability in UFC to suggest he could flatten a tested title challenger like “Bully” with one punch.

As Emmett gears up for his first UFC main event bid against knockout artist Jeremy Stephens next weekend at UFC on FOX 28 in Orlando, Fla., he’s able to reflect on his recent knockout victory over Lamas and what it felt like to land fist to chin in such devastating fashion.

“I just knew it was over,” Emmett told FloCombat. “As soon as I connected I could feel…I don’t know, it’s different. Sometimes when you hit someone so hard, I could feel the punch through my glove into my knuckle and I just knew. I looked and he had fallen straight over and that’s why I just walked away.

“There was no need to hit him while he was already out.”

While Emmett understands the magnitude of his win over a well-known name like Lamas, he’s fully aware that his upcoming matchup against “Lil Heathen” may be the toughest test of his career thus far. After all, Stephens has never been finished at 145 pounds and is coming off a brutal finish over Doo Ho Choi this past January.

“It’s going to be a tough fight,” Emmett said of his UFC on FOX 28 headliner. “This is going to be the biggest fight of my career to date. I think it’s going to be my toughest opponent so far too. He’s a legend of the sport. He’s been in the UFC almost 11 years. He has over 40 pro fights, 27 of them coming in the UFC.

”He’s fought the who’s who at ‘45 and ‘55, so I’m looking to go out there and perform extremely well again and come out with another victory.”

If Emmett is able to get past Stephens next weekend in Orlando he would be 3-0 in the UFC’s featherweight division with two wins coming against top 10 opponents. That sort of success usually leads to a shot at UFC gold, which is exactly what the Team Alpha Male standout is hoping for should he get past Stephens.

“I believe it [a win] does [lead to a title shot],” Emmett said. “I feel like this is the title eliminator right here. Like I said, Stephens is a pioneer, a legend of the sport, he’s fought the who’s who. He’s climbing the ranks and I feel like the winner of us gets a title shot. We’re both coming off of impressive wins; we’re both in the top 10.

”After I beat Stephens, the UFC, the fans — they won’t be able to deny me that title shot.”

The winner of Frankie Edgar vs. Brian Ortega at UFC 222 may have something to say about that.

Stick with Mania for complete UFC on FOX 28 results and coverage.